Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Beer Review: Dogfish Head Aprihop

Dogfish Head Aprihop IPA

This is one of Dogfish Head's spring season offerings and a unique one at that. Fruity IPA beers are rare finds and always something I will be willing to try. This IPA brewed with Apricots is no exception. This creation pours a dark amber color with a long lasting head that definitely shows some lacing. The aroma is beautiful. I get lots of malt, generous hops, and barrels of Apricots. The wort must have been one pungent thing during the boiling stage.

Flavor is really one of a kind. Its kind of like they took one of their 60 minute IPAs and threw in a bunch of apricots. The most noticeable departure from a traditional IPA is the fruity tang. Adds to the crispness. But it also takes away from the hop experience. They are still in there, they just take a back seat. Which is not something you look for in an IPA. I think they should put this under its own category. The malt is still present though. Somehow the malt flavor comes through as clear as the fruit.

Overall, this is a solid beer and one that I would get once or twice a year. I still much prefer a regular IPA. If you feel like experimenting this is something worth a shot but if you go into this expecting an IPA you will be disappointed. I do support new beers and I will give Dogfish Head my thanks for continuing to innovate.

Final Score: 75% (A Fun Experiment But Doesn't Hold Up In The Long Run)

Beer Review: Singha Lager Beer

Boon Rawd's Singha: The Original Thai Beer

My first Thai beer. I was a bit hesitant at first because I have tried a couple of Asian beers (Kirin and Sapporo) before and they all seemed like they used far too much rice. Rice makes bland beers. Either this is a case of rice done right or they use great barley because this is a great lager. No watered down qualities at all. Appears a straw golden color with a lasting lace ring around the glass. Aroma is of malty goodness and some faint hops.

Flavor is excellent for this time of year. It reaches that great balance of enough malt for flavor, some hops to keep you on your toes, and great drinkability to appeal in the hottest weather. I would compare this to Red Stripe. The main difference being that the hops are much more noticeable in this. It is by no means anything like an American Pale Ale but it does have some distinct hop character.

I am impressed with this offering and now have a go to Asian beer. The higher than expected 6% ABV is also another surprise. The alcohol is very well hidden. Thai restaurants beware.

Final Score: 85% (Great Pale Lager Flavor, Above Average for the Style)

Monday, May 19, 2008

Beer Review: Rogue Dead Guy Ale

Rogue Dead Guy Ale

This is a unique taste experience. Also my first Rogue review. This Oregonian brewery certainly has the marketing aspect of the business down. A skeleton covered bottle referencing the inevitable demise of all of us is intriguing to say the least. Aroma is of tons of malt. I get wheat and some barley in there as well. Almost smells sweet. Color is as pictured, a rich copper color.
The head is there for a brief period but doesn't hang around too much.

Flavor is of ridiculous amount of wheat and honey. Its like a bee harvest in a glass. It tastes rich yet sweet. Almost like it wasn't fully fermented. Some roasted malt is present as well. I think the best way to describe it is as caramelized wheat with honey on top. I can't taste any hops at all. I am sure they must be in there but I get nothing. I think the hops really would have helped this beer, its not terrible but it could have been more balanced.

If you love honey and wheat this is a beer for you. If you dislike hops this is also a beer for you. But if you crave balanced flavor this is not a beer for you. The bottom line is that this is a sweet beer. The hops do not stand on their own. Definitely worth a shot though, it is a unique creation.

Final Score: 82% (Good Malt Flavor but Too Lopsided)

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Beer Review: Immort Ale

Dogfish Head Immort Ale

This is one big beer. I have heard arguments against Dogfish Head's extravagant big beer and I disagree. The price is expensive but you really do pay for what you get. This 11% ABV beer is rich and holds few equals in terms of flavor. This is beer luxury. The cap should have been made of red velvet. Aroma is strongly of vanilla and maple with a head lingering in a ring around the glass. Not too much lacing going on but you can also tell that the head is in no rush to go anywhere.

This big beer pours a dark brown with some faint light coming through. The vanilla and maple really come through on this one. I would prey to the food gods that I will have the experience of blending this with a normal pancake batter. Having maple and vanilla blending in just seems right. This is as close to a morning beer as I have encountered. But not your everyday morning. This is a wake up late, drink a great beer, have a steak, back to bed beer. They hold nothing back. The vanilla really shines. It is apparently aged in Oak but I can't tell. I am already having a hard enough time dealing with the complexity of the vanilla. Don't try to kill me Sam.

The bottom line is that this is a great beet. Is it worth thirteen dollars a four pack? I think so. The flavor and character are off the wall good. This is completely unique from any other beer I have had. Sure you might have to skip a meal to afford it... but you won't regret it. This is like Thanksgiving with more bacon and less vegetables.

Final Score: 95% (Fantastic Flavor and Character, Price is only Downside)

Beer Review: Dale's Pale Ale

Oskar Blues Dale's Pale Ale

This is possibly the flagship beer for the Oskar Blues brewery in Colorado. The fact that it comes in a can was shocking to me at first. I had never envisioned craft beer to come in cans. That was solely the domain of the macrobrewery. I do stand corrected. I have been educated and I now regard the can as superior to the bottle. You have complete protection from UV light, an inner liner to prevent metal taste from getting into the beer, lighter weight, and more durability. Opens with a psst and pours a deep copper color with a slight haze. Head is very solid, lots of lacing and reaching a tall initial height.

Flavor is very hoppy. This is an example of a pale ale done right. It has the malt body and richness required in all good beer along side the flavorful hop oils. Lots of citrus and floral hop flavors. Its like a fresh grapefruit coupled with a bouquet of freshly picked flowers. Very refreshing. The head just keeps lingering. This is a very satisfying and rich pale ale. If it had anymore hops I think it would be venturing into IPA territory. I also get a bit of roasted malt if I swirl it around and let the volatiles run free.

I think everyone should give this a shot. Especially people who feel the bottle is superior. Bottles do have aesthetic value if you are drinking them without a glass but when you have a great beer glass it makes no difference. I applaud the Oskar Blues brewery. This is good stuff. The only downside is the high price. This is more expensive that your average pale ale (cost me $18 for a 12 pack). I would have expected a small price decrease because of the medium. Cans are cheaper than bottles. Still, this is a fnatastic pale ale and a great example of the American Pale ale style.

Final Score: 88% (Pale Ale to the Core but Expensive)

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Beer Review: Weyerbacher Old Heathen

Weyerbacher Old Heathen Imperial Stout

I have a hard time turning down any beer with Imperial on it. Love the name and picture. Intriguing with that old world fear. Pours a deep dark brown with a caramel colored head. The head sticks around for a little but but settles out as a ring around the outside of the glass. I can't detect much of an aroma. I get some bock like malt odor but not much else.

The first thing I notice is the heavy mouthfeel. Much heavier than I expected, even for an Imperial Stout. Also surprising is the alcohol by volume (8%) which seems low for this style of beer. I would describe the taste as sweet and roasted. The actual word that I want to use is somewhere floating in my head but I can't grab it at the moment. Definitely some coffee and caramel flavors but nothing really out of the ordinary.

I feel that if this was brewed for a Czar this would not be as successful as other Imperial Stouts. It's an alright beer but the lower ABV and the lack of anything interesting in the flavor really impairs this beers success. Compared to an Irish Stout this is superior in my opinion but for the style this is disappointing. The hefty price tag doesn't help much either.

Final Score: 73% (Not Quite Up To Standards. Seek Imperial Elsewhere.)